I have been staring at this blank page for several minutes now. I don’t know how to write this post. My heart feels like it is being ripped out of my chest and I think the only thing harder than writing this post will be pushing “publish”. But this post needs to be written. So here it is:
I’m walking away from the sport of power tumbling.
This has been a long thought out decision involving lots and lots of tears and even more prayers. And even though I don’t want to, I know it is the right decision.
I had planned to tumble one more year before I retire from the sport to go on a mission. But I feel that it is time to let go now. There are countless reasons as to why I’ve made this decision, but what it really boils down to is that this is what my heart, and what God, is telling me to do.
I think I’ve know that It was my time to retire for a long time, but I wasn’t ready to accept it myself until now.
Tumbling has been my life for the past 11 years. It has been what I eat, sleep, and breath and the thought of not having it scares me, but it also excites me about what the future is going to bring.
Last year I competed at my final tumbling competition. The last 11 years have been long and wonderful, but winning is not something I’m used to. I usually found my self on the lower end of the podium, but at State Championships last year I finished with a silver medal, and in the words of my coach, I “finally pulled through when it mattered most”. When that medal was put around my neck somehow I knew it would be my last.
And then Thursday night at the gym was when it hit me. I had my ankle taped and my wrist brace on and I was ready to tumble when the last 11 years began to flash through my mind. I received spiritual confirmation to my many prayers that it was time to be done. Tears began to form in my eyes as I sat there trying not to imagine my life without tumbling. I hadn’t said anything to anyone about what I was thinking, when Teri turned to me and said something along the lines of “you know you’re done don’t you?” It was in that moment that I knew that was it.
I cried on and off for the next hour and a half. I talked with Teri and my coach Steph and I knew that I was making the right decision, even though it was the hard one.
Steph posted on my facebook page something that hit me really hard. She said,
The greatest things in life happen because you have great people around you. So I have some people I need to say thank you to.
You have been a significant part of my life since I was a little 11 year old. You’ve always been one to make sure everything was right in the gym and I appreciate that so much. Anyone who can get there eye scratched by a 12 year old, and then still love them deserves an award. Haha you always had my best interest in mind and you are a very big reason as to why I am where I am today. Thank you for inviting me to join your first competition team. I remember my first state championship when we only had 11 kids competing and to think about how much we have grown since then makes me so happy. I wouldn’t have been able to stick with this sport for all these years if it wasn’t for you. I also need to thank you for supplying me with a job for almost 5 years. I love my job so much and am so thankful for the opportunity to work with such incredible people and to have a blast doing it. You are amazing.
Oh Stephanie… You have no idea the impact you have had on my life. You have always been the best at knowing exactly what I need, and exactly how to give it to me. Your part in my life has far exceeded the role of “coach”. You have become my “Sensei” which includes everything from mentor, to physical therapist, to motivator, to roll model, to best friend. I have always looked up to you. You have gotten me through some of the roughest parts of my tumbling life and I would not have been able to become the tumbler I am today if I didn’t have you. I still carry my lucky turtle you gave me whenever I have something hard or tricky I need to do, and the rose you gave me at your last competition is still in my room as a reminder of how much you have done for me. I also still have your autograph because you will always be famous to me. Thank you for all your pep talks, your jokes, and your hugs. I couldn’t have done it without you.
It’s been a while since you’ve been my coach, but I still need to say thanks. You got me to my first national championships which was one of the most exciting times as a tumbler. I remember the moment when you told me I had qualified as one of the best moments of my life. You believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I remember the long nights at the gym with you, Shawn, and my dad as I learned my full, and learned how to get over my fear of the foam pit. There were times when you would stay at the gym until 11:00 at night coaching me. There have been very few times in my life where I have had someone so dedicated to my success as you were. You also inspired me to learn to play guitar. I always loved the way you would bring your guitar to tumbling meets and play to us while we competed. And even though I won’t be tumbling forever, I do know that I will be strumming my guitar for a very long time.
You were my first real team mate and have always been one of my best friends. You have been one of my best supporters. When I was a little 14 year old tumbling with the high school and college kids you were always the very best at making sure I was included. I always loved tumbling with you because tumbling with you made me feel like I was somebody. You were one of the very best motivators and you got me through so much. The times we stayed late at the gym were some of the fondest memories I have of tumbling. I will always remember the time we had a funeral for a fire truck and then laughed until we cried. I love that even though we haven’t tumbled together for a long time I still consider you my team mate. I can’t wait until I get to sit on the other side of the judging table with you!
My best friend. I love you so stinking much. You are the best to talk to. I love our long talks that last until after everyone else has left the gym. I always feel like I can tell you things and that you will understand them, including things things inside the gym, as well as outside. I’m so happy that you joined us for nationals in Texas, and that you decided to stick around after that. I love that we share the same childhood heroes and I will always remember the day that we saw them in person and how we both cried. You will always be one of my best friends.
We weren’t team mates for a super long time, but you taught me something that I will never forget. You taught me that there is more to life than tumbling. You showed me the kind of life I want to live. You are one of the greatest examples in my life of someone who loves the gospel. You made me love it even more. You are one of the happiest and most fun people to be around and even though you don’t know this, you helped show me the kind of person I want to be. I admire the way you can talk to anyone about the gospel and how you can’t help but be friends with everyone. Thank you for your example.
You are going to do incredible things. You have been such an incredible teammate and you are always so much fun to be around. You are always the person I go to if I want to be crazy because you don’t care about what people think. Our game of twister with sponges sums up our friendship in a nutshell. haha Keep being incredible.
You are one of the funnest people I have ever gotten to know. You have brought so much fun to the gym and I am so glad to have been able to know you. I will always remember the the DI run to get ugly costumes, the all nighter Christmas party, and the team hike. You have made this gym feel like a party. Thank you for your friendship and for being such a great coach.
You have already read how incredible I think you are here, but I need to say it again. You were my biggest roll model when it came to tumbling. You were the person I dreamed of being. But what I admire more than the world records is the way you handle trial, and the way you treat people. You have been through so much, but you are still so strong. I want to be like that. And you are always so kind to everyone you meet and so humble. I still wear a green Kalon Nation bracelet every day as a reminder to live my life like the incredible people I look up to. I will never forget when you told me I made you cry with that blog post. You will forever be the world champion in my eyes. Thank you for being the great person you are.
You only coached me a few times, but I always looked up to you in this sport. You have almost 2,500 friends on facebook, but you took the time to learn my name. In the few times you have coached me you have taught me a lot. And I will forever remember the tumbling competition when I finished my pass better than I ever had before and you gave me a congratulatory hug. And aside from tumbling I admire the way you are able to combat trial. You are an incredible person and I am lucky to have been able to know you. And I laugh every time I think about the time we asked you for your autograph and you responded with “no that’s weird I know you!”
My darling little sister. I love you so stinkin much and I have loved tumbling with you this last year. I know you won’t tumble forever, but I want you to know that I love watching you tumble. You make the rides to and from the gym so much fun and you remind me so much of myself when I was a little tumbler. Keep being amazing.
Mom and Dad,
Thank you for allowing me to have this opportunity to tumble. Thank you for the checks that allowed me to do this sport. Thank you for driving me to the gym several thousand times and for spending forty something Fridays and Saturdays at tumbling competitions. There is no way I would have been able to do it without you. I love you!
And to every other teammate and coach I have had over the last 11 years,
You have all had a great impact on my life. I am so thankful for each and every one of you and for the excitement you have brought to this journey. Thank you for the laughter, than you for the friendship. Thank you for everything you have taught me. Thank you to all my coaches for pushing me, and thank you to all my teammates for cheering for me. I love you all so much. Don’t every stop being awesome.
For those of you who are still wondering “Why?” there are several reasons. I won’t share everything with you, but I will share the big ones.
1-I need to focus on my school. With tumbling I have almost no time for homework and now that I have 4 college classes I have to be able to do homework at a descent hour during the day.
2-I need to focus on preparing for a mission. It is my biggest goal right now and even though it is still a year away I want to be able to focus on that and not have other things weighing on my mind. This will allow me to spend more time in my scriptures like I would like to.
3-I want to have more time for my callings. I am on Seminary Council, a Family History Consultant, and Laurel Class President and I want to be able to serve to the best of my ability. Lately I haven’t been able to do that because I have been preoccupied with tumbling. Thursday night at the gym the song “All Of Me” by John Legend came on the radio and even though it is a different context than what the writer intended the song to mean, I realized that I need to give my all to God, and in return he will give me everything. I once herd a quote that said to “give up something you love for the God I love even more.” This never had so much meaning as it does now.
4-Lack of progress. I have been at almost the same level for the last 4 years and it doesn’t feel worth it to me to continue in the same place for a 5th when I could be doing other great things.
5-Injury. I have been injured several times with tumbling and with this sport there is no way you can avoid pain. Even though I’m not currently injured enough to unable me from tumbling, I am often in pain. I am tired of the pain. I also fear that future injuries could interfere with being healthy on my mission.
6-I suck at change. I know that this doesn’t make sense, but if I were to tumble until I left on a mission I would have to give up everything to do with the sport all at once. I would have to say goodbye to friends and coaches, give up training and competition, leaving my amazing job, and say goodbye to my second home all in one day. I don’t think I would be able to do that. So letting go of competition and keeping the rest feels like the better option. I know that the rest will eventually come, but easing into it slowly might be an easier transition.
7-It feels right. Even though everything in my head is telling me it’s not, my heart is telling me it’s time. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve studied my scriptures and this is what I’m supposed to do. This is right for me.
So that is why I’m moving on to the next chapter
And even though I won’t be competing anymore, I still do plan to work with the team at least until I leave on my mission in a year. And I will still be in the gym almost every day to coach classes to the little ones just beginning their journey.
I don’t know exactly what’s next for me. I know that in a year I will serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints and until then I will continue coaching, serving on Seminary Council, serving as a Family History Consultant, and serving as Laurel Class President. I’ll keep blogging and growing my skills as a photographer and graphic designer. I will finishing my last year of high school, apply to colleges, and preparing for a mission. I plan on opening up an Etsy shop, taking judging courses so that I can be a tumbling judge when I get back from where ever I go on a mission, and maybe learning to ride horses better.
I can’t see exactly what the road ahead of me looks like, but I now that it’s good. In the words of C.S. Lewis,